IN just six month a young Port Talbot businessman has gone from redundancy to the title of Young Entrepreneur of the year.
Tom Cole, 21, had always wanted to run his own business and after serving an apprenticeship with a Skewen firm he was faced with redundancy and decided now was the time to act.
Tom attended one of Neath Port Talbot Council’s Enterprise Clubs based at Sandfields Business Centre. At the Club, Tom received advice on how to develop his idea, grant funding and where to access business start-up workshops.
“It was something I wanted from school days and I am really glad I took the plunge.
“I have had considerable support from Sandfields Business Centre, family and friends and I am looking forward to the future.
“But I was really shocked to win the Nation Hits Young Entrepreneur Award for Swansea Bay,” he said.
He also revealed that the evening itself provided him with more business opportunities with a few potential customers.
Tom’s company Sign IT, produces a wide range of work from banners to shop fronts and from window displays to vehicle graphics. And his motto is quality products and personal service.
“If you do quality work you will get repeat business and it is a good advert for you. I also believe in producing work on time even it means me working late into the night. This is not a 9 to 5 operation.
“I have plans to expand and I have recently taken on an apprentice under the Rathbone Scheme,” he added.
Rathbone is a UK wide scheme for young people and sponsors youngsters getting into the jobs market.
Tom is the second young man to win this award from Sandfields Business Centre. Two years ago Adam Amor from Buffoon Film and Media picked up the prize.
Adam said: “It gives you a tremendous boost to win the award and since that night I have sponsored awards at the event. I was hoping to sponsor the award Tom won but I was too late.
“There is nothing better than getting an award like this, it shows your efforts have been recognised,” he added.
Councillor Ali Thomas OBE, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council said, “This is a great award for Tom to win in such a short period since starting up. It clearly demonstrates what can be achieved through being resilient and hard working. I am also particularly pleased to see the combined support from our Economic Development Team and facilities at Sandfields Business Centre creating such an excellent platform for business to start from.”